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Monthly Archives: September 2016

An Evening with Susan Elizabeth Phillips

susan-e-phillips

I had the pleasure of meeting Susan Elizabeth Phillips at an author event at the Franklin Library in Des Moines last week.  It was wonderful.

I met her several years ago in Anaheim at a Romance Writer’s of America National Conference. I attended her workshop and it was very informative and entertaining so I knew her talk would be memorable.

She write’s humorous romances with quirky characters. Most of her hero’s are sports figures. Her heroines are strong women who sometimes find themselves in awkward situations but it always works itself out in the end. If you have shied away from romance thinking you might not like it, I would encourage you to check out this author.

I arrived a few minutes early and met a handful of my Iowa Romance Novelist friends. We sat in a group toward the front. She introduced herself and then she acknowledged our organization. I have never had an author do that. She introduced us to the crowd to let them know about our local authors and to help us maybe attract a few new members.

Most authors stand up front and speak about how they started writing or where they got the idea for their last book. She did do a little bit of that but most of the evening was spent with her reading excerpts from her books and awarding gifts to the first person who guessed the correct book. Even though I have read a few of her books, I soon started feeling inadequate. These women were very familiar with her work and it quickly became a very lively event.

She explained how some of the children in earlier books were brought back and she told their stories.  The more she talked about the books, the more I wanted to read them. It was not a good thing for someone like me. I am a bookaholic.

That night I did buy two books and had her autograph them. What hooked me on Natural Born Charmer is the fact that someone is walking down the street in a beaver costume in it. I have to find out what that is all about. I bought First Star I See Tonight because it is her most recent book.

Since then, I have purchased most of the rest of her collection. It will take me a while to catch up and I know I will enjoy every minute.

But before I can start reading those, I had to finish the one I have been reading.

a-story-to-killIt is a cozy mystery with a protagonist who is a mystery author. Her ex-husband was a college professor and he owned a huge home close to the campus. After his death, he surprised her by leaving his home to her. She decided to make it into a writer’s retreat. She invites writers to spend one week a month there to work on their own books while she as the author in residence encourages them. It was the first in a series and I did enjoy it. The characters were likeable and it kept me guessing until the end where she did hint that her husband’s death may not have been a heart attack like she was originally told; so a little  mystery to come.

I continue to work on my projects. Working on the second draft of the novel I finished before I went to Tennessee. I put it away and have just taken it out so that I can look at it with fresh eyes.  I meet with my critique group Sunday so need to have something to share with them then.

I am also developing my mystery series. Not a lot to talk about at this point but moving forward.

Until next time, keep writing and reading.

Virginia

 

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

A Rose By Any Other Name…

rose

I have had so much overtime for the past few months and it is making it a little more difficult to jump enthusiastically into my project.  In the past, I have tried to work a little bit each of my four work days to keep my three day weekend for writing and all the other tasks everyone has to do like, cleaning, laundry, shopping, and trying to spend a little quality time with family. Since I work a 10 hour day, I finally decided it was too much so started using my Monday off for overtime. The last few weeks we have had less overtime each week so I think it is trending to the point it will go away for a while.

I completed my hours for the week today and decided I needed to post my blog since I missed it last week so here is what I am doing:

I continue to develop my story for the new project. I am trying to name my characters. For those who don’t write, it is almost like naming your children. The name has to fit the character, their age, gender, and personality. You have to like the name and feel comfortable with it because you will be spending a lot of time with this fictional character. I am struggling a little with my protagonist. I’ve got a couple names so far but no last name yet. The only name I have decided on is the victim and her name is Faith. So I am hoping to push forward with the names today so I can move forward with this project.

Here are a couple of books I use for naming characters. Do you have a favorite character naming book? Would love to see what other writer’s use.

baby-name-books

 

I am also trying to start revising my completed project. I will share more about that process as I get further into it.

We have a Harlequin Editor coming to our Iowa Romance Novelist meeting in October  to do a program and am hoping to maybe make a connection to pitch the romance down the road, maybe.  I am reading a couple books on revision to help me get started. Will share those next week.

If you are in the Des Moines area and would be interested in a writer’s workshop. My chapter of Romance Writer’s of America – Iowa Romance Novelists will have a Red Quill Workshop October 15th from 10:00 AM to 2:30 PM with a Harlequin Editor. This workshop will give you the inside track on the art and business of writing and publishing from an editor of one of the biggest publishing houses. Mystery, suspense, women’s fiction, romance, young adult, or any other genre. This is an amazing chance to meet a Harlequin editor face to face. Check it out on our Iowa Novelists Facebook page. Hope to see you.

I just finished reading ‘Last Ragged Breath’ by Julia Keller. She is one of my favorite authors. Just noticed her newest book just came out so will have to buy it – ‘Sorrow Road’. If you’re looking for an enjoyable mystery series, do check this one out. What are you reading? I am always looking for a new author.

Until next time, keep reading and writing.

Virginia

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

 
 
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